Friday, November 14, 2008

Broke Consumers

The retail sales figures added to my pessimism about the economy. I expected a big consumer pullback in '03, but it never materialized. People have forgotten, but things seemed pretty bleak then. Unemployment was hovering around 6% - not super high, but worrying - and I figured that consumers pulling back would break the back of the economy. Consumers didn't do that, presumably because they were happily using their homes as ATMs, and the economy rebounded, if a bit anemically, propelled by the housing boom.